Please. Fake it, Until You Make it.

There is no reason to be ashamed of imitating the people you admire.

You don’t have to be an “original”.

The objective is to take the pieces of those you respect and ingrain them into the person that you ultimately want to become. The process allows you to pick and choose what qualities or what type of character you aspire to attain.

The end result is in fact originality.

It’s a waste of the talent of others not to harness the qualities and skills that we admire. The qualities and skills that make the world a better place. The qualities and skills that we would miss if they didn’t exist.

Stop trying so hard to be original. Instead, just be human.

Dear Marketers: The World Has Changed.

For marketers and brand managers, there are fundamentally three ways to grow a business and the emergence of e-commerce is and will continue to have a significant impact on the levers brand managers and marketers can pull to grow their business in a meaningful way:

  1. Increase prices: The rise of e-commerce has created a world of abundant, free, and easily obtainable pricing and cost information for consumers. It has created a world of incredible pricing and cost transparency, arming consumers with the tools necessary to ensure that they are paying the lowest price available at all times — eroding margins and mangers abilities to increase prices.
  2. Increase Purchase Frequency: E-commerce platforms are increasingly looking to push consumers into subscribe and save models that allow consumers to order goods on a predictable basis. While this doesn’t directly prevent consumers from purchasing more of a good, at it’s core it is changing consumer consumption behavior, as consumers become “trained” and comfortable with only consuming the quantity that they have ordered over a set period of time. Thus, decreasing the need for increased consumption, making it ever more efficient.
  3. Increase Number of Purchasers: Arguably, the most challenging and costly lever that brand managers and marketers have at their disposal, yet the lever least impacted by e-commerce in a negative manner. This will be the key objective of brand mangers and marketers over the coming years, as they look to grow their business. However, it is a daunting challenge, as it has become increasingly difficult to get the attention of consumers, who are overwhelmed with options and have diminishing attention spans.

Marketers and brand mangers — if we want to grow the businesses we run, moving forward we will have to:

Create products that our consumers cannot live with out.

Products and experiences that consumers would truly miss if they were gone.

Products and experiences that make people feel more connected to the world that they live in.

Products and experiences that cultivate authentic, not transactional, relationships.

This is a tall task. The world has changed. How are you helping your business grow?

It’s Ok To Notice

How often do you notice someone’s hair, new glasses, or nice shirt – and say nothing?

Why is that the case? Seriously.

What’s the harm in giving a compliment?

Is the person going to ignore us?

Are they going to tell us that we are in fact wrong and that they disagree with the compliment?

Maybe they will force us to “take back” the comment.

Unlikely.

Why do we deprive ourselves and those that we care about? Think about the last time someone gave you a compliment, or a piece of positive feedback. How did you react? How did it make you feel? Did you smile? Did you blush? Did you get a warm sensation throughout your body? Then why do we deprive others of these positive, sensational feelings?

As humans, we thrive on affirmation and positive feedback. In many ways, for better or worse, our happiness and satisfaction is highly dependent on how we perceive we are perceived by others.

Our emotional well being is similar to a flower. We start out in this world as tiny seeds and it takes careful tending for us to grow and prosper. People, as plants, require a few basic ingredients to grow:

Plants need the sun for energy and to ignite the process of photosynthesis to cultivate growth. Similarly, we need human interaction and connectivity. We thrive off of and harness the energy of social interaction. These interactions ignite the process of growth as we learn more about ourselves and the world with each interaction and connection.

Just like plants, people need nutrients and water to grow healthy and strong. Compliments, affirmation, and knowledge are the nutrients and water that keep us from wilting due to the “pressures” of the world we live in.

Lastly, just as plants, we need something to grow in. For plants, that something is soil. For us, that something, or soil, is community. The role of our community is to create an enviroment that holds and harnesses the the water and nutrients we need for growth.

Don’t be afraid to notice. We could all use a bit more water and nutrients.

The Groupon Illusion

For the local business owner, Groupon appears to be a dream come true. The platform allows the small business owner to short circuit the traditional means of acquiring new customers and revenue. The traditional method is rooted in grass roots marketing efforts and word of mouth to spread the news of the new product or service that the small business owner is offering consumers. Instead, Groupon allows the small business owner to acquire hundreds and even thousands of new consumers with less than half the time and effort by offering consumers promotional price discounts. Awesome, right?

Not so fast, what small business owners soon realize is that the increase in demand is short lived. Consumers only value the price discount – not the product or service the company is selling. This is not a sustainable, long term way to build and grow a business. It is a shortcut. A shortcut around doing the hard work that it takes to build a product or service that speaks for its self. The shortcut around the time it takes to build a product or service that people actually need and value.

We, as individuals, have been impacted in a similar way by this Groupon Illusion. Our current culture thrives on the idea of the life hack – self-help books and power poses. Shortcuts intended to help us get the results we seek with less time and effort than it would have otherwise taken. However, as with the small business owner, there are no shortcuts to living the life you intend to lead or being the person you aspire to be. Sustainable improvement comes from work. It comes from the investment of time, energy and resources to be better. To be a better spouse. To be a better sibling. To be a better employee. To be a better student. To be a better citizen of the community.

Let’s unsubscribe from Groupon and embrace the “long cut” – investing the time and energy to build the change we want to see in the world.